First home games turn out ‘special’ for Wave

West Point senior Cherity Henry dribbles away from a defender and toward her first goal of the season.
Staff Writer

It took more than a month for the West Point High soccer teams to play their first home games. And it was well worth it.

No the teams didn’t register their first wins of the season. But they did get a goal for a senior girl, played in one of the biggest crowds ever and got a chance to support a player whose is dealing with the death of her mother.

“It might be the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen for a soccer game in West Point. The weather was great, it had been so long since we’d played at home. Everyone came out to support both the girls and the boys. It was great, everything was ideal,” boys coach Steve Cannon said of the two games against visiting district foe Grenada.

“It was great that Zarcayla’s family was there, came out to see her play, to support her and the team,” Cannon continued, referring to sophomore Zarcayla Murphy, whose mother, Demetrick, died suddenly of a heart attack Monday night. “It was very special.”

The big crowd was treated to a goal by senior Cherity Hogan. It was her first goal ever and only the team’s second of the year.

“Lillie Baird passed the ball up and Cherity stopped it and dribbled it in and scored,” girls coach Ashley Dauzat said. “The girls really enjoyed having a home game and Cherity scored her first goal at home. It was all she wanted for the season. That made it special.”

“She took it all the way down and scored. Everyone went crazy, the fans, the boys team was supporting them,” Cannon added.

Dauzat, who is in her first year as coach, said the young team continues to work and learn, including plans for camps during the summer.

Mollie Brown scored the team’s other goal in their first game of the year against Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

Cannon said his young team also is learning, although it “didn’t play too well” Friday night.

“I think our guys were a little nervous playing at home for the first time with such a big crowd. I think they were trying to do too much,” he said.

“We are still so young. You have to have athletes, like football players. That makes a difference, they are bigger and stronger. We need 15 more Jonathan Facellas. He played his tail off,” Cannon said referring to one of four players on the team who also play football.

“In the first half, we couldn’t stop them. It was like we were standing still. But in the second half, we got after it, we played hard.

“But I can tell you, watching these kids this year, it’s been special with what we went through at the start, watching Zarcayla and the fans Friday night. They play it for fun, because they love it,” Cannon continued, referring to the tragic death of 16-year-old Jonathan Fondren in a car accident two days before the team’s first game.

The Green Wave’s next home game is Senior Night on Jan. 25.